New York Jets Defensive Line Grade Sheet: Week 13

The truth is, there weren’t many bright spots in Sunday’s drubbing at the hands of division rival Miami. Rex Ryan’s team struggled once again to produce even a semblance of an NFL offense. While the majority of the blame for this one has to be deflected to arguably the most anemic offense in football, the defense also played a role, continuing to prove that it’s far from the “elite” level we have all come to expect.

The defense looked good in some spots, but atrocious in others–a perfect representation of the Jets’ season through 13 weeks. Despite letting Miami move the ball at will between the 20‘s, the Jets held the Dolphins to field goals rather than touchdowns inside the red zone early (a testament to the struggles brought on by the paranoia of getting beat deep), giving this offensively-starved team, at the very least, a chance to keep it close.

The Dolphins headed into Week 12 with a league-leading 44 sacks allowed, but you sure wouldn’t be able to tell it by Sunday’s performance. The Miami offense came into this game with a plan, and they stuck to it. The blueprint is out on how to stop the Jets’ defense, and teams are clearly taking advantage.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill got rid of the ball early and often Sunday, picking the Jets’ defense apart with three-step drops and short passes (7.7 yard per reception average) on his way to 311 yards and two touchdowns.

The defense looked more than happy to oblige the Dolphins’ plan, as Tannehill got off 36 of his 43 passes in less than three seconds, taking advantage of a passive Jet secondary that struggles in coverage about as much as it does tackling.

That left the Jets defensive front with just seven attempts of three seconds or more to get to Tannehill. The results of those seven: one sack and three incompletions, to go along with two QB scrambles and one completion. It’s pretty clear that when the Jets secondary gives the defense some time, opposing offenses pay. Unfortunately for the Jets, this secondary doesn’t appear capable of staying consistent.

The Grades:

Muhammed Wilkerson: 76 Snaps (94%)

  • 4 Total Tackles (2 Solo)
  • 1 QB Hit
  • 1 Pass Defended

Wilkerson was not his usual disruptive self on Sunday as he (and the rest of the pass rush) was essentially nullified by the Miami game plan. Wilkerson continued to look good against the run despite the unusually high rushing total allowed and was able to get one of very few hits on Tannehill.

Wilkerson’s one QB hit (shown below) resulted in the Jets’ lone turnover of the day:

Wilkerson gets an opportunity to beat a 1-on-1 block on this play as Rex Ryan sends Ed Reed and Calvin Pace on a blitz from the outside. Wilkerson takes advantage of the situation, hitting QB Ryan Tannehill as he’s releasing the ball, leading to an Antonio Cromartie interception.

Grade: B+

Sheldon Richardson: 73 Snaps (90%)

  • 5 Total Tackles (3 Solo)
  • 1 Tackle For Loss

Like Wilkerson, Richardson was solid against the run in this one–not a surprise considering his performances thus far into the season–but had minimal impact against the pass. Richardson finished a less than spectacular day with five total tackles, including one tackle behind the line of scrimmage.

Grade: B

Damon Harrison: 42 Snaps (52%)

  • 6 Total Tackles (2 Solo)
  • 1 Tackle For Loss

Harrison continued his dominance in the middle, finishing with six total tackles and one tackle-for-loss, despite seeing the Jets allow over 100 yards on the ground. He’s being recognized for his stellar play against the run this season, as PPF has him graded as one of the top defensive tackles in the league in rushing situations.

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Snacks gave Jets fans a little scare on Sunday when he needed to be helped off the field with an injury, but rebounded quickly and actually ended up playing more snaps than he’s usually asked.

Grade: B+

Leger Douzable: 19 Snaps (23%)

  • 3 Total Tackles
  • 1 QB Hit

While Douzable was relatively unknown coming in to the season, he’s proven to be a very versatile piece on the defensive line. At only 27-years-old, he’s seems to have found a niche in Rex Ryan’s defense, showing off an ability to help against the run and to disrupt the pocket.

After a mid-season “lull”, Douzable has emerged in recent weeks, finishing Sunday’s game with three total tackles and one QB hit.

Here’s a look at Douzable’s hit on Tannehill: 

Leger Douzable
Douzable (5-tech) really takes advantage of a bad block from the Miami running back as he bounces off the block and heads straight for the QB, recording one of very few QB pressures in this one.

Grade: B

Kenrick Ellis: 12 Snaps (15%)

  • 1 Solo Tackle

Like Harrison, Ellis continued to look good against the run, but finished with just one tackle on Sunday. While he was flagged for another penalty this week -in only a dozen snaps- he seems to have embraced his role as a rotational player on the defensive line behind Harrison, giving the Jets yet another stout run defender on defense.

Grade: B-